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Other State-Specific Developments

on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 in Labor & Employment Law Update: Kara E. Stockdale, Editor

Iowa

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission recently prevailed in a district court action alleging an apartment complex’s management company’s employees subjected two former tenants to harassment and other discriminatory treatment based on their sexual orientation. After a maintenance technician discovered the two men were sharing a one-bedroom apartment, he verbally harassed them by calling them derogatory terms and slurs and making offensive gestures on an almost daily basis during March and April 2011. He also referred to the two men using derogatory terms to other employees and residents. Both the property manager and an employee in the corporate office failed to take any corrective action when the men complained about the harassment. The jury awarded the men $147,000 in damages) $22,000 for economic damages, $50,000 for emotional distress, and $75,000 for punitive damages. The Commission will also seek equitable remedies including changing the management company’s complaint process and training staff regarding their obligations to prevent and appropriately address discrimination complaints.

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